Vitamin D Treats Thyroid Autoimmunity – A Landmark Study

As we have discussed previously, many of the health benefits of vitamin D supplementation may have been over exaggerated.  However, there is one area where this may not be the case – autoimmunity.  There is not much research on vitamin D as a treatment for autoimmune conditions, however a recent study has shown promise for those with thyroid autoimmunity.

For help with your thyroid or vitamin D levels, click here

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Vitamin D Treats Thyroid Autoimmunity – A Landmark Study

Dr. Michael Ruscio: Vitamin D and autoimmunity.

Hi, this is Dr. Ruscio, and a very exciting landmark study Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source was just published showing that supplementation with vitamin D actually decreased thyroid autoimmunity through decreasing what’s known as TPO, or thyroid peroxidase, antibodies. Now, you may have heard that if you have autoimmunity you should take vitamin D. However, that recommendation has been made somewhat speculatively. Up until now, most of the data that we have just shows that people with autoimmune conditions also have low vitamin D, but we haven’t really shown that by supplementing with vitamin D we’ll see a decrease in the autoimmune condition. Those types of studies are really nonexistent or they’re very sparse. This study, to my knowledge, is the first of its kind, and this is very exciting because it shows that the vitamin D being low may not be just associated with the disease, but it may be causal. What that means from a practical perspective is supplementing with vitamin D may actually help the autoimmune condition.

Now, we’ve spoken about this quite a bit in some of the podcasts that are all on my website in audio form and also transcribed if you want to get a deeper dive on the vitamin D piece, but an important thing to mention is we see the association of low vitamin D to many diseases, but in many of the trials where we’ve given vitamin D, we haven’t seen a great effect on those diseases. The one area that’s somewhat unknown—and we mention this in the podcast and the articles—is autoimmune diseases because there’s not a lot of clinical research on vitamin D supplementation in autoimmune diseases, but it’s the one area that I think makes the most sense where vitamin D might be the most helpful.

For most people, I think the claimed benefits of vitamin D supplementation have been a bit over-exaggerated. You still definitely want to have a reasonable supplementation, maybe around 2000 IU a day if you’re a little low, maybe a little higher, up to 6000 IU a day, if you’re very low until you get your levels into the normal range, maybe around 40 as a benchmark to shoot for. That’s still a good recommendation, but to thinking that we can treat and potentially cure every disease under the sun by vitamin D supplementation may have been a bit of a stretch. However, the one area where we don’t have a lot of data and I think there’s the most plausibility for vitamin D being helpful is with autoimmune conditions. Again, this is landmark study showing that as a treatment, vitamin D did lower thyroid autoimmunity through lowering TPO antibodies. If you are a doctor or a patient and you have thyroid autoimmunity, then using supplemental vitamin D may be a good idea. Just make sure you periodically monitor your levels so you don’t go into an excess.

This is Dr. Ruscio. Hopefully this information helps you get healthy and get back to your life. Thanks. Bye.

For help with your thyroid or vitamin D levels, click here

What do you think? I would like to hear your thoughts or experience with this.

Discussion

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30 thoughts on “Vitamin D Treats Thyroid Autoimmunity – A Landmark Study

  1. Dr. Ruscio,
    I want to thank you for this information on Vitamin D (and all of your updates as I listen regularly.) As a Dietitian/clinical educator for Vibrant, we are testing for celiac, leaky gut, WGA, non celiac gluten sensitivity as well as the Microbiome. I see so many patients with low vitamin D levels and irregular values for all types of autoimmune issues. I appreciate the information you provide and your careful and thoughtful presentation.

  2. Can the Vit D be converted into a metabolite? How do we know?
    How should we check it? What should be the ratio. I am basing
    this on what you brought up on this subject and I believe it should
    always be mentionned because people will take vit D status only.
    thanks I enjoy you post.

    am

    1. Hi Anne. Yes, 1, 25 vitamin D aka calcitriol. It can be assed via a blood test – for anyone interested in more on this search vitamin D in our search box for a article/podcast on this. Anne, the interesting thing about this study is calcitriol was not tested but by simply giving vitamin D to those with low vitamin D, thyroid autoimmunity improved. So perhaps a simple approach here is all that is needed. I should also point out that the dose here was not high 1,200 to 4,000 IUs – so conservative dosing might be all that is needed here also. Thanks for your question 🙂

  3. Dr. Ruscio,

    Thank you very much for this article, Do you happen to have the link to the new study? I would like to read it in detail. Thank you for you work!

    Tiffany

  4. I’ve been supplementing with Vitamin D3 for years. Currently taking 4,000 u a day in liquid form. I also supplement K2 and magnesium. However, my levels remain low – most recent test it was 39 ng/mL (ref range 30.0 ng/mL – 100.0 ng/mL). The highest it’s been is 47.

    I am hypothyroid, though unsure if it is the auto-immune flavor. My antibody tests all come back below the cutoff. However, I have studiously avoided wheat for several years now, and have done eliminations of other common offenders without finding any to be problematic.

    I tried desiccated thyroid treatment, and ended up with severe reverse T3 and my adrenals crashed. My iron levels were low – and I have been able to get those into decent range, though my ferritin remains quite high, saturation middling, and binding capacity low.

    Most concerning now is my Vitamin B12 levels are crazy, crazy high. A test a year ago was 1761 pg/ml. It came down to 894 a few months ago but in the tests done last week it was back up to 1087.

    My doctor doesn’t seem too concerned about any of this, and is far more interested in getting me on a low fat, calorie restricted diet, and attending cardio classes three times a week.

    1. Hi Lissa,
      I understand your frustration. I would look for a good clinician who can piece these parts together. You’re on the right tract but some professional guidance could probably help.

  5. Dr. Ruscio,
    I want to thank you for this information on Vitamin D (and all of your updates as I listen regularly.) As a Dietitian/clinical educator for Vibrant, we are testing for celiac, leaky gut, WGA, non celiac gluten sensitivity as well as the Microbiome. I see so many patients with low vitamin D levels and irregular values for all types of autoimmune issues. I appreciate the information you provide and your careful and thoughtful presentation.

  6. Can the Vit D be converted into a metabolite? How do we know?
    How should we check it? What should be the ratio. I am basing
    this on what you brought up on this subject and I believe it should
    always be mentionned because people will take vit D status only.
    thanks I enjoy you post.

    am

    1. Hi Anne. Yes, 1, 25 vitamin D aka calcitriol. It can be assed via a blood test – for anyone interested in more on this search vitamin D in our search box for a article/podcast on this. Anne, the interesting thing about this study is calcitriol was not tested but by simply giving vitamin D to those with low vitamin D, thyroid autoimmunity improved. So perhaps a simple approach here is all that is needed. I should also point out that the dose here was not high 1,200 to 4,000 IUs – so conservative dosing might be all that is needed here also. Thanks for your question 🙂

  7. Dr. Ruscio,

    Thank you very much for this article, Do you happen to have the link to the new study? I would like to read it in detail. Thank you for you work!

    Tiffany

  8. I’ve been supplementing with Vitamin D3 for years. Currently taking 4,000 u a day in liquid form. I also supplement K2 and magnesium. However, my levels remain low – most recent test it was 39 ng/mL (ref range 30.0 ng/mL – 100.0 ng/mL). The highest it’s been is 47.

    I am hypothyroid, though unsure if it is the auto-immune flavor. My antibody tests all come back below the cutoff. However, I have studiously avoided wheat for several years now, and have done eliminations of other common offenders without finding any to be problematic.

    I tried desiccated thyroid treatment, and ended up with severe reverse T3 and my adrenals crashed. My iron levels were low – and I have been able to get those into decent range, though my ferritin remains quite high, saturation middling, and binding capacity low.

    Most concerning now is my Vitamin B12 levels are crazy, crazy high. A test a year ago was 1761 pg/ml. It came down to 894 a few months ago but in the tests done last week it was back up to 1087.

    My doctor doesn’t seem too concerned about any of this, and is far more interested in getting me on a low fat, calorie restricted diet, and attending cardio classes three times a week.

    1. Hi Lissa,
      I understand your frustration. I would look for a good clinician who can piece these parts together. You’re on the right tract but some professional guidance could probably help.

  9. Thanks for this info, Dr. Ruscio. What do you think a good level of 25 OH would be for someone with autoimmunity, that also had a history of kidney stones? I’m using D3/K2 drops (due to past 25 OH tests coming back in the low 20s).

      1. But, that being said I just read a paper this morning that stated under 50ng/mL is the ideal level for preventing calcification – so maybe that’s something to go with?

  10. Thanks for this info, Dr. Ruscio. What do you think a good level of 25 OH would be for someone with autoimmunity, that also had a history of kidney stones? I’m using D3/K2 drops (due to past 25 OH tests coming back in the low 20s).

      1. But, that being said I just read a paper this morning that stated under 50ng/mL is the ideal level for preventing calcification – so maybe that’s something to go with?

  11. Hi, just digressing for a moment . Do you have any data on any link between low Vd levels and depression/ anxiety problems please ?.

  12. Hi, just digressing for a moment . Do you have any data on any link between low Vd levels and depression/ anxiety problems please ?.

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